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Pomp and circumstances

Principal Ryan Maine and the school administration have tentatively postponed graduation until social distancing policies are lifted and it is safe to gather in large groups. However, Maine, Associated Student Body (ASB) adviser Andy Schultz and Class of 2020 officers are planning a virtual celebration which will be livestreamed on YouTube for seniors Thursday, May 28. 

Maine called radio personality Ryan Seacrest live on air on 102.7 KIIS-FM to request a virtual keynote message for Walnut High School (WHS) seniors Friday, April 17. Aside from the personal keynote, the current plan for the virtual celebration includes a slideshow, a montage, the reading of graduates’ names and possibly a fireworks show. 

“It’s a little something for now, [and] it’s good that there’s still hope for graduation,” Class of 2020 Cabinet member senior Kellyn Gonzalez said. “Mr. Maine and [ASB president senior] Matt Mayo are the best people to plan the event because they truly have the students’ best interest in mind, and I know they care about the seniors a lot.”

To allow students to reach out for support, Grade Level Counselors (GLCs) have created Google Forms which can be found on the WHS website. These forms provide students with the opportunity to reach out to a GLC for a one-on-one emotional support session through Google Meet or Google Classroom. Additionally, the Walnut Valley Educational Foundation purchased yard signs to surprise the Class of 2020 seniors. Over 30 volunteers delivered the yard signs to 588 seniors spanning over 20 cities. 

“It definitely cheered me up, and I’m sure it had the same effect on other seniors,” Mayo said. “To see the amount of sincerity and care that the staff had to drive to everyone’s house was so heartwarming, and definitely made me feel included. WHS does a great job of remembering the [Walnut Valley Unified School District] slogan, ‘All means all,’ which is definitely exhibited through the senior sign distribution.”

To promote unity and school spirit during quarantine, ASB, class officers and the school administration hosted virtual challenges over Instagram. Maine challenged students and faculty to a virtual dance contest in which each class cabinet compiled a video of submitted dance clips. 

“The significance of participating in these challenges is to show how powerful our Mustang spirit is. Through these challenges, we create a family that we feel we can rely on,” Class of 2020 cabinet member Milly Avalos said. “A great characteristic our school has is that we are so full of pride and positivity, which is definitely needed to get through times like these.”

By Emily Cao, Staff writer
Photo by Ashley Liang